Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Sci. Signal., 20 April 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 118, p. ec117
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3118ec117]


Apoptosis Deadly Diced DNA

L. Bryan Ray

Science, Science Signaling, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Mammalian cells undergoing programmed cell death, or apoptosis, destroy DNA with the deoxyribonuclease known as DFF40. Cells of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans also undergo cell death, but they do so without a DFF40 enzyme. Nakagawa et al. (see the Perspective by Liu and Paroo) searched for other nucleases that might be involved in worm apoptosis by systematically depleting nucleases with interfering RNA. They found that the ribonuclease Dicer, known for its role in sequence-specific silencing of gene expression, was cleaved by a protease that changed Dicer’s catalytic activity. The remaining C-terminal fragment switched from being a ribonuclease to a deoxyribonuclease. Thus, caspase activation leads to DNA degradation in the worm as well.

A. Nakagawa, Y. Shi, E. Kage-Nakadai, S. Mitani, D. Xue, Caspase-dependent conversion of Dicer ribonuclease into a death-promoting deoxyribonuclease. Science 328, 327–334 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Q. Liu, Z. Paroo, Dicer’s cut and switch. Science 328, 314–315 (2010). [Summary] [Full Text]

Citation: L. B. Ray, Deadly Diced DNA. Sci. Signal. 3, ec117 (2010).

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882